Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Valmeinier 1800

Big mountains move and excite my soul. The Alps rise up around Geneva like great fortress walls. Narrow passage by train gives entry to the enclosed and rarefied valley of Savoie. Winding roads course upward into the sky as diesel power carries us. Arrival at Valmeinier 1800 is blinding and glorious, the thin air clean and pure. Smiles and long-awaited hugs suffuse the bright evening with warmth and happiness. Sugar-white snow blankets stone hulking peaks all around, everywhere. Time knows no friction here. There is no drag. 1,2,3,4,5,6. I count the days as they dawn and breath but never fear their loss. I only know them as they are. Alive and full of joy and real love and breathtaking beauty.
We are home now, and though the air is surely thicker and time much stickier with its own conflicts, our life glows with the memory of pure and fine experiences on high.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Skiing with Barbara - Episode 1


The weekend with Barbara proved to be everything we had hoped for. We all had a tremendous amount of fun, and we all came home in one piece. No injuries. Only amazing memories. We will write and post more, including a wonderful video from Okemo. For now, being short on time (we will be in Valmeinier, France all of next week) we will start with pictures. Really, they kind of say it all. Thank you for following this story, and thank you for caring about Barbara so much!! - M&E

Monday, March 9, 2009

Training Barbara - Week 4

Holy Sh-t. That was a serious hike! 8 miles/12.8 kilometers of joy and pain. We did not expect this. We may not have even intended this. But we climbed and stepped and chit chatted and gulped water and at times rose above the trees and hopped over streams and crunched through snow and squished in mud and eventually we made it home. (Sore. Very sore.) Seriously though it was a great hike, and true we did not realize how intense it would be, but Barbara and the two of us and Barbara's friends John and Kristine all did it. And we loved it!

Now, let's get down to business. This is Week 4. That means it's SKI WEEK! On Saturday Barbara will step into her ski boots and clip into her skis and two years of pain and rehabilitation and challenge and anticipation will fall away and only the snow, a moment of truth and the sweet tug of gravity will remain.

The hike was definitely a part of the training, but we are for sure all a little bit sorer than expected. Therefore, we will take it a little easier on the legs this week so that they can recover and be all pumped and juicy for the ski slopes this weekend.

In Barbara's Words -

WOOOO HOOOOOO - the ski trip is this weekend! I have been looking through photos from the trip two years ago and am completely psyched!!! I am excited to experience that rush again...to conquer a challenge...to spend a weekend away with friends. I have already started packing. And THIS time I hope to return with a video of skiing rather than a video of my ambulance ride!

The workouts for week three were quite a bit more challenging than before and really made a difference. This became increasingly more apparent as our reasonable Sunday hike stretched into an eight mile, four hour trek!! It was probably one of the most difficult hikes I have done and, again, my knee held up incredibly! I am so thankful for this training opportunity!!! And so thankful for Mieke and Ezra! I am feeling so many things right now, but most of all I feel very lucky.


The Workout, Week 4 -

Tuesday
32 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on the elliptical - (had our action day hike not been so intense we would have had Barbara do interval training on this day)
8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up
24 Minutes at 70-80% Maximum Heartrate
5 Minutes Cooldown


Floorwork - 2 Sets of 8-10 reps each exercise (or per side)
Core Work
  • Medicine-Ball Crunches
  • Supine Leg Drive
  • Exercise-Ball Side Crunches
Cooldown - Stretches for torso, hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

Thursday
28 minutes of cardiovascular exercise - (4 minutes less than Tuesday)
8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up
20 Minutes at 70-80% Maximum Heartrate
5 Minutes Cooldown

Floorwork - 2 Sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise (or per side)
Legs and Lower Body
  • Lunge Hops
  • Side-to-Side Slide
Cooldown - Stretches for torso, hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

Saturday and Sunday - SKIING!!!


**NOTE: If you are thinking about trying any of these exercises or workouts and you have any questions about whether or not they would be right for you, please email us (liefstyle@gmail.com) or check with your doctor or physical therapist before beginning.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Training Barbara - Week 3

Thank you again for all of your comments and emails. This is exciting stuff, and your feedback is a great source of motivation and reinforcement for all of us! We are both super impressed with the transformation we are starting to see in Barbara. Even from last week, her legs show greater strength and flexibility. It's pretty amazing to witness. Some of the exercises and stretches that were quite difficult have, in one week's time, become more natural and less effortful. Next step... take it up a notch!

In Barbara's Words -

Week two is finished with success! The new floor exercises provided a real challenge, and I can feel a big difference in my muscles. Not only do I feel stronger, but also more balanced.
While I am working hard, I can't help but be a little nervous with the realization that we have only two weeks left. Don't get me wrong, I am still EXTREMELY excited - but with this conscious thought came a few butterflies. Will I be ready? Will I be controlling the skis or will they be controlling me? I am determined to find out, but have to admit I am BEYOND happy that Mieke and Ez will be there with me to (figuratively) hold my hand or (again figuratively) give me a shove if needed.
Ok, I am ready. Lets do this - keep it coming and BRING ON WEEK THREE!

In Our Words -
We will (literally) hold your hand and give you a shove if necessary!


The Workout, Week 3 -

Tuesday
32 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on the elliptical - (increase of 2 minutes from Week 2)
8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up
24 Minutes at 70-80% Maximum Heartrate
5 Minutes Cooldown


Floorwork - 2 Sets of 8-10 reps each exercise (or per side)
Legs and Lower Body
  • Reverse Crossover Lunges
  • Lunge Hops
  • One-Leg Forward Bend (5 reps, hold for 5 seconds each side)
  • Side-to-Side Slide
Core Work
  • Supine Leg Drive
  • Plank Knee-Lift
  • Standing Single Leg Rotation (with Medicine Ball)
Cooldown - Stretches for hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

Thursday
30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise - (2 minutes less than Tuesday)
8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up
22 Minutes Interval Training (Each interval is 2 minutes high intensity at 70-85% max heart-rate followed by 2-3 minutes at lighter intensity. Repeat 4 to 5 times.)

5 Minutes Cooldown

Floorwork - 3 Sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise (or per side)
Legs and Lower Body
  • Reverse Crossover Lunges
  • Lunge Hops
  • One-Leg Forward Bend (5 reps, hold for 5 seconds each side)
  • Side-to-Side Slide
Cooldown - Stretches for hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

Saturday -
32 minutes of cardiovascular exercise -
8 Minutes Gradual Warm-up
24 Minutes at
70-80% Maximum Heartrate
5 Minutes Cooldown

Floorwork - 3 Sets of 8-10 reps of each exercise (or per side)
Core Work
  • Supine Leg Drive
  • Plank Knee-Lift
  • Standing Single Leg Rotation (with Medicine Ball)
Cooldown - Stretches for abs, low-back, hamstrings, quads, hips and calves.

Sunday - Action Day!
Winter hiking anyone? Count us in. We'll all go to Coldspring with our baselayers and water bottles and get some fresh, cold air in our lungs.


**NOTE:
If you are thinking about trying any of these exercises or workouts and you have any questions about whether or not they would be right for you, please email us (liefstyle@gmail.com) or check with your doctor or physical therapist before beginning.

Watershed Kids

In Belgium we have an expression ‘Jong geleerd, oud gedaan.”
Basically means that what you learn when you are young, you will do when you will be older.
That’s why all our parents tried so hard teaching us good manners, etc ;-)

Watershed - Campaign for 1000 was created by us for many reasons.
When you google the internet, you can easily find a million reasons to quit your plastic bottle dependence and switch to a cool reusable bottle.
We always loved carrying around our cool Sigg bottles and with liefstyle it is all about sharing the love.
We want to bring people together for a simple and good cause.
Liefstyle in many ways started with our parents, showing us nature, the outdoors, healthy living without waste. We can only hope to pass on the good vibe to the next generation.
My sister, Els, signed her family up for Watershed with some amazing pictures.
Those pictures inspired us to take it to the next step.
Encourage all of you – dear Watershed supporters- to spread the love to more friends, people everywhere.
Or simply share your Watershed fun with us and send us some of your pictures.